Wednesday, 27 May 2015

US Ancient Coin Collectors, What is there not to Understand?

Intelligence of a cat...
I've been talking about responsible collection since 2000, and blogging here about it since summer 2008. You'd think by now that those who want to write disagreeing with what I propose would at least have had the opportunity to find out what it was. But to do that you would have to be able to read English and have a bit higher IQ than my cat.

Ed Snible over on the IAPN paid lobbyist's blog recounts his awful experiences with a coin he bought from a well-known dealer (Palmyra Heritage Morris Khouli Gallery). They are talking about "provenance" (they mean collecting history) and that responsible collecting is allegedly a "misnomer". Snible moans
I recently blogged about a coin with a provenance back to Pakistan in 1963. I was crowing online about the long provenance, and P[aul] B[arford] immediately called me to task for not seeking a 1963 Pakistani export license (this is for a sub-$30 value coin in 2015 dollars).
Nonsense. What I wrote about was collectors buying irresponsibly. In order that the coin in question had been exported legally, there would have to be documentation. Snible had no such documentation for his coin. I wrote of responsible collectors taking responsibility for the hygiene of their collection by buying only from dealers who have in their stockroom artefacts which have the paperwork allowing verification of their claims that they are licit. Such collectors would avoid the cowboys that continually palm off on them second-best. If a dealer cannot secure a supply of licit artefacts, then he's not the kind of dealer responsible collectors want in the market. What, actually, is so difficult for US coin collectors to understand here? It is not exactly rocket science, so why do they keep getting it wrong?

Perhaps the reality is they simply do not want to address the plain truth which seems to be that 99.98% of them are not in the slightest bothered about whether or not they are buying coins that have been smuggled and do not really care at all where that coin came from and how it got out of the ground and onto the market. That, certainly is what their actions, and constant attempts to dodge the issues, seem to suggest with utmost clarity.


Nathan Elkins said...

Remember also that Morris Khouli has been implicated in a smuggling ring!

Paul Barford said...

I think Mr Snible, buying undocumented artefacts from him "preferred to forget" certain things, like - as you may recall - the dealers in that ring reportedly making up false collecting histories, that certain objects had been in a dealer's Dad's collection (see here:

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